Australian AgTech A Commentary on the Report of the Agri-Tech Expert Working Group June 2021

Main Article Content

John Canning https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8281-7783

Keywords

Agriculture, AgTech, Connectivity, policy, Australia

Abstract

The government AgriTech Expert Working Group has provided a detailed overview of the practical challenges domestic Australian farmers have to deal with when digitising their farms through the implementation of connected sensor technologies, motivated by the predicted growth of the sector to AUD 100 billion by 2030. In addressing these issues, of which connectivity and access to wireless technologies along with unreliable sensor performances over time remain prominent, domestic regional specific solutions are sought. A key solution being relied upon are low earth orbital satellites, perhaps the only communication infrastructure that cycles over territorial boundaries and has both regulatory and technical challenges that are not widely considered. The resilience of these solutions is assessed in the context of the agricultural technology, or AgTech, market which is arguably invented and shaped by broader, global interests mostly centred where end-user populations are based. The argument is made that government policy must include the latter within a larger holistic framework, including education, when assessing the future of both agriculture and AgTech markets in Australia. At the core, the AgTech report does highlight some challenges in Australia’s wider research approach.

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